We are hooked on a feeling.
A feeling that is sweeping a classroom of third-graders off to exploring their unique ideas, using self-selected resources, to find possible solutions to make a change in the world.
How Oliver Olson Changed the World by Claudia Mills amplified student voice, student choice, and student action in our third-grade classroom. The transformation of Oliver from a quiet boy who internalizes problems to a boy whose voice is behind the most powerful idea made an impact in the hearts and minds of the third-graders.
In the words of third-graders, this is how one person can change the world:
- Have an idea.
- Go the right way.
I was intrigued by step-2, “go the right way.” When I inquired into what it implies in the minds of 8-9 year olds, students said that sometimes a solution to an idea may not necessarily be the right solution. Just because you came up with a solution, they claimed, you cannot say it is the right one. The example they gave was what if you had an idea to stop unnecessary hunting of animals, you may think eliminating hunters may be a good idea, but in reality, that would really not solve the problem. What if you have new hunters, they asked. What if these hunters have families, they suggested. So, they claimed, your solution needs to be right by everyone that’s involved in what you are trying to change, you have to go the right way.
And here, readers, I am truly humbled by the voice and choice of young learners who clearly keep kindness and empathy at the heart of what they do.